Holiday gift ideas: home and office gear

By , Network World |  Personal Tech, gift ideas, monitors

ScanSnap S1500 by Fujitsu

I love, love, love the ScanSnap! It does exactly what it said it will. It scans double- or single-sided pages, up to 20 pages per minute, 40 sides, at up to 600 dpi. It removes blank pages, it fixes orientations if you put a middle page in upside down, and it does all of these things almost silently. Its software lets you easily crop images, tag scans to easily search them, and increase the quality. Well, it increases the quality of paper images, my photos were not enhanced and in fact were obviously scanned.

The included software is very easy to figure out and use, which surprised me considering the manual is 369 pages! ScanSnap can scan to multiple platforms: e-mail, a printer, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. Additionally it can create a PDF or a JPEG. The ScanSnap comes with Adobe 9 Standard in case you don't already own this software.

One feature I really like is the CardMinder. This feature lets you scan business cards, capturing more than just the image of the card -- after scanning, you can search through cards by name. You can e-mail directly through the system. You can share the data with Microsoft Outlook and update your address book with one click. It even shows you the front and back images of the original card. This is a great way to organize yourself if you've had a ton of business cards sitting on your desk.

I scanned in everything I could find: photos, papers, packets of information, business cards. It handled everything smoothly and the with the exception of the photos, everything looked better on my computer screen. I really loved being able to type on a document that I scanned off a printed PDF. I even scanned in a handwritten "to-do list" into a Word doc. That was the only thing the ScanSnap didn't handle well. It tried to read my curly writing but everything came out as symbols except for one word and some chunks of it came as images. As a PDF though, my note looked fine.

I'm impressed too because the ScanSnap takes up less room on my desk (when closed and off) than my purse does, and as purses go, mine is rather small. The machine is roughly the length and width of my office phone, although it has more height. My only concern was that when I took it out of the box, I managed to break the feeder flap off the top. My thought was that it was going to be really cheap and work poorly. I was wrong. Once I popped the flap back into place, the ScanSnap worked like a dream!

In terms of its giftiness, it wouldn't be amazing just for anyone. My grandmother would hate it and find it useless. I do, however, think that it would be an outstanding gift for a small business owner, a remote employee, or a student who does many collaborative projects. It's so great for organizing yourself and all of its capabilities are useful. I'm going to be very sad when I give this back, I'm really going to miss it.

Cool Yule Rating: 5 stars
Price: $449
Product Web site.
Reviewed by Jennifer Finn

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